By Julian Draven

Just about everybody has done some drugs of one kind or another. Come now, don't be coy. I know you've tried some. Even if it was just sniffing dry-erase markers when you were in 3rd grade. Everybody has had a little something from time to time that made their head just a little bit giddy. And alcohol does count! No getting self-righteous just because your favorite drug happens to be legal! The way things are going, alcohol might not be legal for too much longer. Hell, after they get rid of cigarettes, alcohol will be the only legal drug left. It will just be a matter of time. Remember, the government knows what is best for you. Do what they say. Pardon me while I shudder in horror.

Regardless, I refuse to believe that anyone that reads this has not participated in the consumption of some drug or another and, if you are paying attention, that probably means I've sampled a few myself. While I can neither confirm nor deny that supposition (I take the 5th amendment) I can say for certain that I have studied the psychological and physiological effects of a number of different intoxicants on the human animal. So, just for shits and grins, I thought I would wax pedantic about some of these drugs. Hell, after all, I've blathered about less interesting things.

Let's talk first about inhalants. Anyone that ever tells you that inhalants are cool, is probably just the kind of person that should have a career as bomb disposal personnel. We really don't need these types of people out there breeding and (I shudder to think) raising children. Now, I'm just one step removed from poor white trash, and some people might argue about that one step, so I've had plenty of experience with the types of people that like to sell you on inhalants. The great thing about inhalants is that they are easy to come by. Hell, they are all around us every day. And, although the use of inhalants is technically illegal, you can't exactly get arrested for owning a box of dry-erase markers. *wink*

So, let's break the inhalants down by category. There are 3 important categories of inhalants:

1. kindergarten kandy
2. trailer park poppy
3. desperation's delight

I'll sum up as best I can the specifics and pleasures of each.

Kindergarten Kandy is the type of stuff that probably all of us gave a sniff or two when we were kids. These things include permanent markers, dry-erase markers, the Crayola scented washable markers, gluesticks, paste, rubber cement and Elmer's glue. As a tangent, isn't it fucking sick that the Elmer's glue mascot is a cow? Some marketing fuck somewhere has a very twisted sense of humor. Most of the Kindergarten Kandy can make you feel really dizzy and light headed, smells either pleasant or weird and can be had at any drug store for under two dollars. Unfortunately, most of these inhalants don't have effects that are any more interesting than you would get if you just held your fucking breath until you passed out. And, like passing out, they generally leave you with a splitting headache. My recommendation is that you stopped sniffing this shit when you were in kindergarten for a reason. Don't go back. Oh, there is one other inhalant that I will put into this category - nitrous oxide, or "whip its" as they are commonly known. I consider it Kindergarten Kandy because of the effect it has on people, they revert straight back to Romper Room mentality. This stuff is an absolute blast! Nitrous is also sometimes called "Hippi Crack" because of the effect it has on the long lines of deadheads that would queue up outside of a VW microbus to get a balloon full of the shit. If you've never tried it, I put it on the recommended list. You get about a minute and a half of giggly goofiness with some very mild visual and auditory hallucinations. These effects can be lengthened, of course, by adding other intoxicants into the mix, but please, know your limitations. Now, if you are one of those people that sneaks over to the baking aisle of the local Kroger to suck all of the nitrous out of the whip creme cans, without paying for them, then you are a super big loser and you have dropped into the category of Desperation's Delight, which I'll give more details on in a moment.

The next category of inhalants is what I like to call Trailer Park Poppy, as these are the substances most readily available for a good ol' down home country boy redneck to fuck himself up with. Most of these inhalants belong to the various families of strong chemical agents and include such garage favorites as turpentine, kerosene, paint, paint thinner, wood stain, varnish and the ever popular gasoline. Now most folks, I'm sure, have had the dubious delight of realizing that they've been trapped in a poorly ventilated room with one or more of these substances when they tried to stand or move too suddenly and had their legs buckle beneath them as the world went all vague and vertiginous on them. And although pitching and weaving can be great fun in the right environment, it can be a real drag in the workplace. But oh what a learning experience. Even in the thickest redneck mind the lightbulb flickers to life with an idea…

"Hey, when I was lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, after falling from breathing too much of that paint thinner, I sure did have the funniest feeling in my noggin and it was kinda like being on a rollercoaster the way the room was all a-spinning. Uh-huh!"

And so the concept of chemical inhalants for fun and recreation was born! To effectively use one of these inhalants is a relatively simple process. All you need to do is open the jar or can, stick your nose in the opening and inhale deeply. Repeat this process for several long, deep breaths and then stand up quickly. Moments later you will come to lying prone on the floor, with spots, spirals and flashes before your eyes. Whee! Once again, however, overindulgence will lead to pounding headaches.

One Trailer Park Poppy that requires some special attention is gasoline. The use of gasoline as an inhalant is so popular, that it has even spawned its own slang, "huffing gas." And let me tell you a tale of huffing gas. I've got a good friend, I'll call him Nutlicker, that has enjoyed more than his fair share of huffing gas. As Nutlicker once explained to me, "There's nothing quite like the feeling you get as an angry, rebellious punk when you storm out of your parent's house because they're giving you a bunch of shit; you stomp back to the garage, pull the gas cap off the riding lawnmower and go to work." I've just got one word for this - classy. Yep, ol' Nutlicker is a gas huffing pro. If you believe his stories, he'll convince you that the most incredibly and splendidly he's ever been fucked up in his life was a gas huffing binge he went on with his cousin and two of her female friends. Unfortunately for the hero of our tale, they all ended up way too blasted to doink, but the stories they can tell of leprechauns, talking trees and sentient fireflies sure makes for the best plot of a PG-13 Disney flick I've ever heard. There is one note of useful information that you can pull from Nutlicker's gas huffing haze...when you start to get severe tunnel vision, it is time to stop.

Desperation's Delight is the last category of inhalants I intend to discuss. I would like to preface these remarks by saying that if you are over the age of 16 and still using any of these chemicals to get high, you will probably one day shoot up Draino. So please, for Goth's sake, stop. I'll teach you how to drink tequila, it'll be much better for you in the long run.

The only people I know that have ever used any of Desperation's Delight more than once or twice are complete and total super losers. If you must try them, then do so once and then move on to something else. Trust me when I say there are much better ways to get high. Desperation's Delight consists of anything like the following: bleach, Lysol, epoxy and any of the "super" glues. I've watched people spray Lysol into a glass and drink it. Do you really want to be that guy? I didn't think so. Now the most popular of these is, of course, airplane glue (or super glue). The method in which this inhalant is "normally" used is as follows: Place half a tube of glue in a plastic bag, then stick your head inside the bag and inhale. Now, this right here should be a fucking warning about what a stupid idea this is. You all know not to stick your heads in plastic bags, right? So, do I really want to get fucked up out of my mind while I've got my head stuck in a Ziplock bag? No, I don't. But, some people will do it anyway. These people are morons. But, if you must, let me describe the high. You will become uncoordinated, have double vision and maybe even some hallucinations. You will also get headaches, depression, nausea and, if you do enough of it, you might even go into a coma or die. Doesn't that sound like fun?

So there's the lowdown on the use and effects of inhalants for fun and recreation. While I can say that I know folks that have used them and survived, let it be known that all of the inhalants are really, really bad for your brain. Inhalants will make you a permanent vegetable in no time flat, if abused. And, although life might suck right now, life as a brain dead, drooling vegetable would suck much worse.

But drugs are not what I really wanted to talk to you about tonight. I really wanted to talk to you about drug users (or druggies as I like to call them).

Maybe I'm just getting old, but they just don't make druggies like they used to. I can remember fondly the college days of my youth. There's nothing like coming home from my 9 o'clock Chemistry class to find both of my dorm-mates toking up on "the freedom bong." Why is it that stoners feel the need to name their bongs? Do junkies name their needles? I didn't do any drugs when I lived with those guys in the dorms, but I certainly got a streetwise education in them. I didn't know what effect cocaine would have on a person, but I did know how much coke you got in an 8-ball, how thin you could cut it and how much money you could make off of it, if done correctly. I also knew that if you didn't have buyers to cover the whole 8-ball by the time it arrived, my dorm-mates would do the whole thing in the course of an evening. Many an interesting lesson was learned.

Years later, my friends and I would sit around and have conversations and wild speculations about all sorts of crazy realities and endless possibilities, but we always knew that we were tripping. Nowadays, I hear these people in the bars and the clubs and the coffeehouses and they talk with such passion and sincerity about things that are such complete and utter bullshit. Don't they realize they are on drugs? Don't they realize that all the shifting patterns of reality that coalesce into amazing epiphanies while you are stoned out of your goddamned mind are just drug induced eurekas???

Apparently not. They continue to discuss the shit when they aren't high. If I have to suffer through another communal, beat-down lecture about how the essence and the flow and the cosmic spiritualization of being will coalesce into one true facet of zen enlightenment...I think my head might explode. All of these jaunts into mind expanding reality are fascinating when one is fucked up, but there needs to be a line drawn in the sand between where this state of mind ends and conscious, logical, non-drug induced reality begins.

I don't know what kind of crack these people are smoking but...hell, I think I want some.

Fuck. Maybe I am getting old.